Volume 4(2), 2008-11, 123—143

Social psychology of persuasion applied to human-agent interaction

Shenghua Liu
Department of Computer Science & Information Systems
University of Jyväskylä
Finland

Sacha Helfenstein
Agora Center
University of Jyväskylä
Finland

Ari Wahlstedt
Department of Computer Science & Information Systems
University of Jyväskylä
Finland

This paper discusses and evaluates the application of a social psychologically enriched, user-centered approach to agent architecture design. The major aim is to facilitate human-agent interaction (HAI) by making agents not only algorithmically more intelligent but also socially more skillful in communicating with the user. A decision-making model and communicative argumentation strategies have been incorporated into the agent architecture. In the presented content resource management experiments, enhancement of human task performance is demonstrated for users that are supported by a persuasive agent. This superior performance seems to be rooted in a more trusting collaborative relationship between the user and the agent, rather than in the appropriateness of the agent's decision-making suggestions alone. In particular, the second experiment demonstrated that interface interaction design should follow the principles of task-orientation and implicitness. Making the influence of the agent too salient can trigger counterintentional effects, such as users' discomfort and psychological reactance.

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